NEWS & OBSERVER: “Dwell Home showed how to do modern modular”

The Dwell Home goes up for auction in Chatham County on Tuesday. AuctionFirst Inc.

The Dwell Home goes up for auction in Chatham County on Tuesday. AuctionFirst Inc.

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Mid-Century Modern House in Fayetteville Threatened With Teardown

Another architectural gem could be lost if the right buyer doesn’t come along. Soon.

Fleishman house corner detail.

Fleishman house corner detail.

January 4, 2015 (Fayetteville, NC) — Unless a buyer comes forward who appreciates its historic value and can see past years of neglect, the mid-century modern Fleishman house at 2614 Morganton Road in Fayetteville, NC, will be demolished. Vacant for at least four years, the house is now listed for sale as a teardown.

North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH), the award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential design from the 1940s to today, is issuing a national alert to help save the 2801-square-foot house that architect Edward Loewenstein designed for Ruth and A.M. Fleishman in 1951. At its own expense, NCMH commissioned an inspection report.

“The house has suffered deterioration, of course,” said NCMH director George Smart, “but it is recoverable. The inspection report clearly states that a good contractor could make all of the repairs. Nothing is beyond hope at this time. With the right buyer, this house could be saved and become another stellar example of mid-century Modernist design. We’re hoping he or she will keep North Carolina from losing another of these architectural gems.”

The Fleishman house is a bi-level brick home with three bedrooms, two and a half baths, two fireplaces, a sunroom, an enclosed porch, a stone patio, and a carport. Beneath the sweeping butterfly roof are large expanses of glass that open the interior to the outdoors, which is typical for mid-century Modern houses. Also typical is the open floor plan and reappearance of exterior materials on the interior. Outside, brick retaining walls form planters in the landscape.

The architect contributes to the house’s value. Originally from Chicago, Edward Loewenstein joined Robert A. Atkinson Jr. in Greensboro to form Loewenstein-Atkinson. The firm’s work was featured in the New York Times, Architectural Record, Good Housekeeping, and Southern Architect, among many other publications. Loewenstein-Atkinson was also the first white architecture firm in North Carolina to hire black architects.

NCMH has helped save many mid-20th-century Modernist houses in North Carolina by maintaining free listings of available homes on its website, by working with the owners to make sure their selling prices aren’t unrealistic, and by paying to have appraisals, inspections, and other reports ready for potential buyers. The Fleishman house’s documents, including a link to the MLS listing, are available at http://ncmodernist.org/forsale.

VANITY FAIR: “Is This House Too Modern To Exist?”

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By Paul Goldberger

 

Lewis Mumford wrote that, in a city, “time becomes visible.” Not, it would appear, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where a city board has just decided that a rather discreet and understated modern house needs to be torn down because it damages the ambience of a historic district, which is to say it destroys the illusion that the neighborhood is a place in which time has stopped.

It’s actually a little more bizarre than that. Louis Cherry, a respected Raleigh architect, and his wife, Marsha Gordon, had long liked the Oakwood neighborhood, a pleasant, older section of town not far from the center of Raleigh, and a couple of years ago they bought a parcel of land on Euclid Street, in the heart of what is called the Oakwood Historic District. Oakwood is not the kind of historic district you would find in, say, New Orleans, where the buildings are of pretty much the same style and the same period. It’s a mix of 19th- and 20th-century houses, of varying size, style, and quality, and construction there is overseen by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission, which, working under pre-determined design guidelines for historic districts, opines on whether or not it considers plans for new construction in the district appropriate….

….The state [has] a wonderful preservation organization called North Carolina Modernist Houses that focuses on educating the public about modern design and saving endangered houses. The organizers have taken up the Oakwood cause—the first time, I suspect, that they have ever had to fight to preserve a modern house before it was even finished. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

WRAL TV: “Oakwood residents, homeowner draw battle lines in fight over modern house”

 — Residents of Raleigh’s historic Oakwood neighborhood and

The Cherry/Gordon house, under construction, draws inspiration from Craftsman-style houses in the historic neighborhood.

The Cherry/Gordon house, under construction, draws inspiration from Craftsman-style houses in the historic neighborhood.

the owner of a home under construction there held dueling news conferences Friday as the battle over the type of construction allowed in Oakwood intensified.

Marsha Gordon and Louis Cherry were granted necessary permits to build the contemporary house at 516 Euclid St., including a certificate of appropriateness from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

Construction on the house irked neighbors, who argued that the house didn’t fit with the character of Oakwood, and they filed a complaint over it. That led the city’s Board of Adjustment to reverse the certificate, which could halt construction on the home.

City officials said Thursday that they would appeal the Board of Adjustment decision to Superior Court “because of concerns about procedural irregularities.”

“(Oakwood) is not a museum stuck in time,” Cherry, an architect, said at a news conference at the Euclid Street construction site.

Cherry and Gordon were backed by North Carolina Modernist Houses, a nonprofit group that documents, preserves and promotes modernist architecture. READ MORE…